The peter pepper (Capsicum annum) has a very unusual shape to it leading to many phallic references when it is brought up in conversation. The most commonly referred to name you will hear regarding the peter pepper is “penis pepper.” Some think the pepper to be attractive while some say it’s hot. Many others just claim it is simply delicious. Regardless of your personal opinion, we can all agree it is a very unique Cajun pepper perfect for eating or as a conversation starting ornamental addition to any garden.
Peter peppers can be found only in two varieties including a golden and a red variety. It is cousin to Jalapeno Peppers and Tabasco Peppers. Its origins remain a mystery but currently it can be found growing in regions in Texas, Canada, and in Pakistan. The peter pepper is a popular addition to many dishes created in Mexico including many varieties of salsa.
Thought the Peter Pepper has been one of the most talked about peppers, it has been surprisingly hard to find the origins of this pepper. I have come across some text tracing the origins back to Tennessee in the 1700’s. Apparently it was a “mutant” pepper plant that stood out from the rest of the crop.
Taste and Smell
A lot of people seem to have a love/hate relationship with Peter Peppers. The taste is really similar to a Jalapeno. A mildly fruity but fairly pungent smell, and that great, original pepper flavor.
Though it was widely known as an ornamental plant, more and more recipes are coming around for these spicy little members. Since they are a cousin to the Jalapeno, they make a great replacement for any Jalapeno related dish where you would want a little more heat. Try serving stuffed Peter Peppers at your next cookout and you’ll probably get a good laugh.
Though peter peppers are not yet recognized as a valid cultivar by most seed suppliers, the pepper has gained enough popularity that the seeds have become more easy find. Lucky for cultivators, it is very adaptable to a variety of growing conditions. When fully mature, each plant can produce up to 100 of these spicy little peppers.
Here are some planting tips for your little spicy members:
- The seeds should be sown around mid-spring, after the threat of frost has passed.
- Sow the seeds a quarter inch deep and at least 18 inches between each seedling. The bushes will mature to about two feet tall and they will need plenty of space for tending and to get ample sun and air.
- Peter Peppers do well in zones that have at least a four month summer since their maturity isn’t fully reached until 90 to 100 days.
- Full sunshine on an even ground with good air circulation is best.
- These peppers enjoy good nutrient rich soil so adding fertilizer to the top10 inches of their bed will do wonders.
- Soils should be kept moist
- Once fruit sets, a high nitrogen fertilizer will encourage fruit growth.
- Harvest the peppers once the color (red or yellow) and size (3 to 4 inches) show they are mature and clip them about an inch above the fruit so you do not damage them.
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